Knowledge, Attitude and Practices towards Paratuberculosis in Cattle and Sheep in Kericho County and Konoin Sub-County, Kenya
A study was carried out to determine the knowledge, attitude and practices towards bovine and ovine paratuberculosis by farmers in Kericho County, Kenya. Semi-structured questionnaires were administered to 423 randomly selected households. Veterinary, medical and veterinary laboratory personnel in the County, and the national Director of Veterinary Services (DVS) were interviewed. Data was also obtained from seven Focus Group Discussion (FGD) conducted in the study area. The data was managed in such a way as to segregate the information on the knowledge, attitudes and practices towards paratuberculosis. The results were presented descriptively. The residents were predominantly of the Kipsigis community (96.1%) who practised mixed subsistence farming. Most (98.6%) of the cattle were reared for milk whereas the sheep (77.7%) were bred for sale. Resulst from the FGD and farmers revealed lack of knowledge of paratuberculosis as a disease of cattle or sheep and there was no local name for it. The veterinary personnel based diagnosis of the disease on laboratory examination, clinical and post mortem signs. The medical personnel did not associate the Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis with any human disease and paratuberculosis was not among the top ten most reported diseases in Kenya by the DVS, due to unreliable diagnosis. Most farmers (55.7%) did nothing to their animals which had diarrhoea and only 3.7% sought assistance from veterinary personnel. Most farmers (98.6%) fed their animals on grass pastures and 72.8% left faecal materials from the livestock in the pastures. All lambs suckled their dams and during milking, 91.6% of the farmers allowed the calves to suckle. The key result of this study show that paratuberculosis is a poorly known disease in Kericho County and the farmers inadvertently exacerbate infection and spread of the disease by their attitude and practices. Definitive diagnosis should be carried out and extension services, together with best practices, implemented in order to manage paratuberculosis.
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